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Author Topic: LOR Dilemma / Need Advice…  (Read 829 times)

Java Man

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LOR Dilemma / Need Advice…
« on: December 01, 2006, 08:31:02 PM »
Here is the situation.  About 6 weeks ago I contacted my three recommenders and gave them some LOR guidelines, resume, Extra-currs, etc.  I chose a Superior Court Judge, an attorney and one of my graduate school professors.  I graduated UG about 15 years ago and I have no clue how to get up with any of those professors, so I am limited to this one.  The judge and lawyer are both good friends of mine.  The attorney and professor are both dragging their feet, but I believe they will happen in time.

My question concerns the judge.  He contacted me this week to let me know he mailed the LOR.  He told me that he kept it short and covered the basics.  By basics he meant that he talked about our friendship and that I was a good family man.  He did NOT cover any academics or professional attributes of mine and even alluded to how we met 9 years ago at the YMCA and attended the same church.  He DID mention that I owned a successful business, prior military, honest, good character, hard working, etc.  Of course I was very thankful and I truly appreciate him writing it for me, but I wish he would have followed some of the LS LOR guidelines I gave him.  I believe that it would be a great LOR for any other purpose, but I am concerned since it is for LS.

What do I do?  Do I cancel / remove his LOR?  Will the adcomms frown?  Or will they see it as a positive? 

For some reason I seem to be limited on the people I can find (trust) to write these LORs.  I have an English teacher at the HS where I teach, who will compose a great LOR for me.  Should I replace the judge with the teacher?

The judge is a graduate of two of my top schools, the general LOR was his UG and the targeted was his LS.

Thanks in advance…

     
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parsley

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Re: LOR Dilemma / Need Advice…
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2006, 04:38:45 PM »
Why'd you pick a judge you're friends with?

My dad's a judge and I didn't mention that anywhere, and I certainly didn't have any judges - friends or not - write me any letters.

It makes much more sense to choose someone who knows you in a professional or academic context.  So having lawyers who don't really know you in that context doesn't make for a great recommendation... The fact that he didn't stick with your guidelines means that he didn't know you in that context and probably didn't feel like he could vouch for your in the academic/professional sense. (Also, some recommenders appreciate talking points, but others think "guidelines" are awfully presumptuous.)

I'd keep Judge Superior Court on only for the school he is an alumnus of (law school). That seems to be the only one that his opinion is really relevant.  And if he didn't mention that he's an alumnus, it probably won't help there.

If you can't get a supervisor, please use a coworker where you teach.  At least she could speak on your behalf from a professional standpoint and it sounds like she'd be more than willing to write you a great letter.

Java Man

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Re: LOR Dilemma / Need Advice…
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2006, 07:36:27 AM »
Parsley,

Thanks for your honesty.  Yes it was silly for me to have done, but I was just ramping up on this whole law school application process and I hadn’t researched the LOR issue too much.  After researching further I discovered my judgment error.

I did think of another prof who could write one for me and I am emailing him as we speak.  Let me ask you this…

I think I should toss the judge’s LOR altogether, because I have no way of knowing what the directed alma mater letter could have stated.

I did think of a former asst. principal of mine (co-worker), who is now a principal at another HS.  I am pretty sure he could draft a good LOR for me.  That would give me the following:  Two graduate professors and a former supervisor. 

About the remaining attorney?  He is also a graduate of one of my top schools and I believe he could (emphasis on could) write a decent LOR (follow the guidelines).

My gut feeling is to toss him as well??

How does that line-up sound?

Thanks for your advice…


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parsley

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Re: LOR Dilemma / Need Advice…
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2006, 09:26:30 AM »
This line-up sounds MUCH better.

Drop Judge then, if he didn't write a school-specific letter.  (Although if it's a local school they may at least know he's an alumnus!)  He'll never know you didn't "use" the letter, and it's always nice to have a good character reference.

But the academic and professional references you've come up with will help your application much more. 

Tell your attorney friend that rather than have him write a general letter, you'd love to have him write a targeted letter for his alma mater.  Then just send that one in directly to the school's admissions office.  I think this will be much more beneficial to you than his character reference as well.

Good luck!

Java Man

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Re: LOR / Arrest Dilemma / Need Advice…
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2006, 02:49:59 PM »
Thank you both very much!  That sounds like a game plan...

I didn't know I could have someone mail a character LOR to the school.  Or should I say that the school would accept the LOR.

Let me add a twist to this story?

I had a couple of brushes with the law when I was younger (2 drinking under age, traffic tickets and accident, etc) and they were 15 - 20 years ago.  But recently I had a stupid charge that I  was found not guilty.  A neighbor claimed I threatened him over a property dispute.  Should I have the attorney and my pastor write character refs to each school showing that I am not a trouble maker? And save the academic / profeesional LORs for LSAC?

I was going to post this question at a later date, but now seems appropriate since we're on the subject anyway.

Thanks in advance...

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Alamo

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Re: LOR Dilemma / Need Advice…
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2006, 02:56:42 PM »
FWIW, I think it's great to have a character reference as an LOR, unless the school limits the number you can send.  In general, judges tend to (or at least should) hold their friends to very high standards of integrity - that speaks well for you.  In addition, law schools (contrary to popular belief) actually prefer people who aren't jerks.  If you have a class full of people who add nothing but academic credentials, and are particularly thorny towards their peers, you end up with an unhappy student body - the workload is enough to make many people miserable - I think they're looking for good people, although personal traits often don't come through directly on the application. 

I'm not an adcomm, so take that with a grain of salt, but your LSAT, grades and resume will tell plenty about your intellectual qualifications - I'd hesitate to throw out a letter that really adds another dimension to your application.
I must admit that I may have been infected with society's prejudices and predilections and attributed them to God . . . and that in years hence I may be seen as someone who was on the wrong side of history.  I don't believe such doubts make me a bad Christian.  I believe they make me human . . .

parsley

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Re: LOR Dilemma / Need Advice…
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2006, 12:33:30 AM »
Disclose the old stuff if they ask.  But don't even write an addendum about the stuff 15-20 years ago.  They'll get it.  You drank underage -- are you going to promise not to drink underage anymore? :)

Only disclose the most recent incident if the school asks.  And then only send the character reference if you disclosed it to the school.